The Quick and Easy Guide to Finding the Right Builder to Construct Your Dream Home

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 12th, 2017

The Quick and Easy Guide to Finding the Right Builder to Construct Your Dream HomeAre you in the market for a new house? If so, you may be considering having a custom-home designed and built to your specifications. There is no better way to get exactly what you want in a house than to have it built from scratch.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at our quick and easy guide to finding the right builder to construct your dream home.

Have Ideas In Mind Before You Start

Try to have some ideas in mind before you contact a builder. For example, how many bedrooms do you want? Are you interested in a two-car garage? Do you want a suite in the basement or elsewhere on the property for rental purposes? What about an office, workshop, media room, home gym or other amenities? Invest a bit of time in crafting a list, and your builder can help design a home that fits.

Find A Builder Before You Buy Land

At first, meeting with and securing a home builder before having a plot of land might seem premature. After all, you still don’t even know where you want them to build your house! But, in fact, this is the best way to go. A good home builder can help you understand permit rules, city or county regulations, which utilities are available in the area and more. Once they understand precisely what you are looking for in your dream home, they will be able to make an honest assessment of any particular lot. This alone can save you a significant amount of both time and money.

Verify Licensing, References And Past Work

Once you have settled on a potential builder, it is time to start the due diligence process. Ask the builder and any sub-contractors for their license details to ensure they are certified to do the work. Try to chat with at least 1-2 past references as well so you can get an idea of what it’s like to work with them.

Get All The Details In Writing

Finally, there are few financial transactions in life that should be done on a handshake and this is no exception. Your builder is going to have a contract that they will ask you to sign. Have your attorney look this document over and have them add in any specifics that are important to you.

A new construction home can be the ultimate in comfort, convenience, and luxury. When you’re ready to learn more, contact us today.

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Taking Out a Mortgage for the First Time? Learn Why a Condo Might Be a Great First Home

Posted in Home Mortgage Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 6th, 2017

Taking Out a Mortgage for the First Time? Learn Why a Condo Might Be a Great First HomeAre you starting to tire of paying your monthly rent to someone and never building any equity? Renting forever can be a significant pain, especially as you’re contributing to someone else’s financial well-being. The good news is that there are affordable real estate options out there for those investing in their first home. Below we will share a few excellent reasons why an apartment or condo might be the best choice for a first-time home buyer.

A Manageable Monthly Payment

In most markets across the country, condos and apartments are available at a significantly lower cost than a full-sized house. Buying a less-expensive home means that your monthly mortgage payments will, in turn, be lower. If you are single or a young professional trying to start a family, that extra money can be a massive boost to your monthly budget.

Note that while your monthly mortgage payment may be lower, you are still responsible for other maintenance and upkeep fees. The most common is known as a homeowners’ association fee, to which all condo owners in the same development contribute. These funds are used to upkeep the building or property as well as things like landscaping, a pool or gym, and other amenities.

A Smaller Down Payment

In the same vein, buying a less-expensive home also means that you can put a smaller down payment on it when you close the sale. In many cases you are required to place a certain percentage – typically 20 percent – down to avoid having to purchase private mortgage insurance. Having to commit less in your down payment leaves more money in the bank for other purposes.

An Excellent Future Investment Property

Don’t forget that when you are ready to upgrade and move into a larger house, you can keep a condo as a rental or investment property. Once your mortgage is paid off, you are only responsible for the monthly maintenance fees and taxes. So if you can rent the condo out to a tenant, you will have an excellent source of cash flow that can help to pay for your new home or fund other activities.

The above are just a few of the many reasons why a condo can be a great starter home for first-time buyers. To learn more about your home buying options, contact us today.

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You Ask, We Answer: Should I Sell My Home Now or Wait Until the Spring?

Posted in Home Seller Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on December 5th, 2017

You Ask, We Answer: Should I Sell My Home Now or Wait Until the Spring?Have you been thinking about listing your house or condo for sale? As you are likely aware, the seasons play a role in our local real estate market and how busy it is. Nicer weather brings out the most in any real estate market, with buyers spending their evenings and weekends touring open houses and finalizing shortlists. Many markets cool off a bit in the winter, but that does not mean that the buyers disappear.

In today’s blog post we will explore why selling your home during the winter can beat waiting for the real estate market to warm up in the spring.

Interest Rates Are On The Way Up

One key consideration this year is that interest rates are trending upward. While it is impossible to predict the movements that the Federal Reserve will make, there is every sign that rates will tick upward soon. Mortgage interest rates tend to rise along with the Federal Reserve’s upward movements, so selling now means selling while mortgages are a bit cheaper.

There Is Less Competition In The Market

Another great feature of listing your home for sale during the winter is that you are likely to face less competition from other home sellers. Fewer homes in the local inventory mean fewer options for buyers that need to close on a home quickly. If your house is clean, in top condition and adequately staged, you can rest assured that it will stand out from the other available options.

It is true that there may be fewer potential buyers shopping for a new home during the winter. However, you will tend to find that winter buyers are serious about finding and purchasing a home. They are much less likely to be ‘window shopping’ or passing through viewing open houses.

Holiday Staging Is That Much More Fun

Finally, it is worth mentioning that staging can be a lot more fun during the holidays. Selling your home in the summer means trimming the lawn, keeping the garden looking clean and maintaining your curb appeal. Selling your home over the holidays means Christmas lights, decorations, baked goods and a more festive atmosphere.

Selling your home in the winter might seem a bit counter”intuitive, but with the market easing up and less inventory available you will find serious, interested buyers. When you are ready to list your home for sale, contact us. Our friendly real estate sales team is ready to help ensure that you receive top dollar for your home.

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Downsizing? Here’s What You Can Expect When You Move From a House to a Condo

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 30th, 2017

Downsizing? Here's What You Can Expect When You Move From a House to a CondoWhether the kids have moved out or you just aren’t using the extra bedrooms, having a house that feels ‘too big’ is rarely fun. In today’s post, we will share a few changes you can expect when you downsize from a large house to a smaller apartment or condo.

Why Downsize At All?

As you might imagine, having too much space is the primary reason that couples and families downsize. Larger homes cost more to maintain and can feel empty if it’s just one or two people living there. In many cases, old items and clutter tend to build up as there is so much storage space. Downsizing to a smaller home helps to maintain a lifestyle that is more efficient but no less luxurious.

Ask Yourself: Are You Ready?

Another consideration that you will need to make: are you ready to move? If you are retired from work, then you likely have enough time on your hands to manage a move. Conversely, if you and your spouse are both working full-time and live near your workplace, you may want to source a smaller home nearby.

Don’t forget that if you own the house you are living in now, this might mean having to list and sell it while buying your new home. This is a common situation and isn’t a significant problem, but it will require a bit of scheduling and financial planning.

The Hardest Part: Choosing What To Keep

Ask any couple or family that has downsized their home about the toughest part, and many will share that it was choosing what stays and what goes. When space is at a premium, everything from shoes to appliances needs to be considered.

Spend some time going through each room in your house, taking an inventory of what you have. Are there any family heirlooms or other emotional items that you can’t part ways with? After that, is there anything that will be usable in your new home? Everything else should be considered fair game. Sell it, donate it or toss it out.

Moving to a smaller home can seem challenging at first, but it is a lifestyle choice that can pay significant dividends. When you are ready to make a move, contact our professional real estate team. After discussing your wants and needs, we will be happy to recommend some perfect local listings.

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Did You Know: Why New Construction Homes Are A Top Choice For Today’s Home Buyer

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 28th, 2017

Did You Know: Why New Construction Homes Are A Top Choice For Today's Home BuyerAre you in the market for a new house? If so, you may have been comparing your options when it comes to open listings on the local market. One decision you will need to consider: do you want to purchase an existing home or build a new one? Let’s explore a few reasons why new construction homes are a popular choice for today’s home buyer.

A Home Designed (By You) With The Future In Mind

Ask anyone who has recently invested in a brand-new home, and many will share that all of the built-in technology was an essential factor. Today’s homes are designed with the future in mind. High-speed networking, better wireless connectivity, high-tech security and other features are all benefits that typically can’t be found in older homes.

Of course, don’t forget that you play a role in the design choices in a new construction home. It is your chance to design all of the features you would want in a dream house.

Energy And Cost Efficient

As you might imagine, homes constructed with modern designs and materials are vastly more energy than older homes. Tighter seals, better insulation and more efficient heating and cooling all translate to lower utility costs. Moreover, while the savings per day might seem small, over time, they add up. Leaving more money in your pocket for investment, saving or other purposes.

If you want to take it a step further, you may even decide to expand your new construction home with solar panels or other high-efficiency upgrades.

Less Maintenance Means More Free Time

Finally, you can sleep soundly knowing that a new construction home needs far less maintenance work than an older home. Of course, there will still be the occasional job that needs taking care of. So you will want to be diligent in fixing up any damage or issues that do occur so that the problem does not spread. But overall, you can expect to spend less of your free time repairing things and more of it relaxing and enjoying life.

These are just a few of the many great reasons to invest in a brand-new home. To learn more about new construction real estate opportunities in the local area, contact us today. Our professional team is happy to discuss your needs and help you find the perfect new home.

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Are You Ready for Home Ownership? Find Out by Answering These 4 Questions

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 17th, 2017

Are You Ready for Home Ownership? Find Out by Answering These 4 QuestionsHave you been dreaming about a larger, roomier or more luxurious living space? Or perhaps just want to experience the joy of owning your own home and building your net worth instead of renting? Let’s explore a few questions that can help to answer whether or not you’re ready for a new lifestyle as a homeowner.

Can You Realistically Afford To Buy A Home?

The first consideration to make is a financial one: can you afford it? Buying in a home is a significant financial investment. In most cases you’ll need to manage monthly mortgage payments for many years. The good news: owning a home is a more affordable than you might think. If you’re already a stable renter then you’re most of the way there.

Do You Have Your Down Payment Saved Up?

If you’re confident that monthly payments are no problem, then the next step is saving up enough to cover your down payment. This is a lump-sum investment that you make when you buy the home. Typically your down payment is around 20 percent of the home’s cost, but there are assistance programs which can reduce this further.

Do You Know What Type Of Home You Need?

Once you’ve cleared all of the financial hurdles, you will next need to decide exactly what kind of home you need. If you’re a single young professional, a condo or apartment might be the perfect starter home from which you can upgrade later. Or you might prefer something more rural which comes with more yard space, perfect for pets.

Are You Ready To Set Down Some Roots?

Finally, it’s worth taking some time to decide whether or not you’re ready to emotionally and physically invest in your local community. Is your career stable enough that you won’t be moving for at least a few years? What about that of your partner or spouse? If you don’t already, do you envision having children in the future? All of these are considerations that will help you choose the right neighborhood.

When you are ready, our professional real estate team is here to help you find the home of your dreams. To learn more about buying a home and to view homes that are perfect for first-time buyers, contact us today.

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Should You Get a Home Inspection Before Selling Your Home? Let’s Take a Look

Posted in Home Seller Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 16th, 2017

Should You Get a Home Inspection Before Selling Your Home? Let's Take a LookIs it time to upgrade or move on to a new home? If you are planning on listing your home for sale in the near future, you will have a few key considerations to make. Do we paint? Finish the basement into a suite? Renovate the bathroom, or leave it?

However, before you start worrying about renovations it can be helpful to understand how your home has stood the test of time. Let’s have a quick look at a few reasons why you may want to consider investing in a professional home inspection before selling your home.

Assessing Your Home’s Current Condition

Give some thought to your home’s current condition. How old is it? When was its last professional inspection? Has your home suffered any significant weather or other kinds of damage? Take a walk around and look at the key structural areas. Do you see any issues with the roof? How do the walls or siding look? Are there visible cracks in the home’s foundation? If there are obvious issues, it is time for an inspection.

Do You Need A Speedy Sale?

Another excellent reason to get your home inspected early in the selling process is that it’s likely to speed things along. If there are any repairs required, you can have them taken care of before you start staging your home, having professional photos taken and hosting open houses.

A recent inspection can also give you a competitive edge over nearby or similar homes that are for sale. It signals to potential buyers that you have done some of the heavy lifting in the process and that they are unlikely to uncover any major issues when they have their own inspection done.

Take Care Of ‘Deal Breaker’ Problems

Finally, a home inspection ensures that you will be able to take care of any potential deal-breaking issues that could ruin a sale. Even if you decide to skip repairing some of the minor issues, taking care of things like cracks in your foundation, mold problems or old electrical wiring will all help with keeping your sale on track.

These are just a few of the great reasons to invest in a professional home inspection before listing your home for sale. To learn more about the home selling process or to get started, contact your local real estate professionals.

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4 Mistakes That Plague First-Time Home Sellers and How to Avoid Making Them

Posted in Home Seller Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 15th, 2017

4 Mistakes That Plague First-Time Home Sellers and How to Avoid Making ThemAre you thinking about selling your home? If this is your first time going through the selling process, you may be wondering just how well things are going to go. Selling a home is usually a smooth process – there are thousands sold each day – but issues can arise if you’re not careful. Let’s explore four mistakes that are commonly made by first-time home sellers and how you can avoid them.

Trying To Sell Without Experienced Representation

The first and most significant mistake that some first-time sellers make is to try to go it alone. Selling a house is a major financial and legal transaction and one where experience is crucial in getting things right. Invest in an agent who has a track record of quick, efficient sales and you’re going to have an advantage.

Choosing Emotion Over Reason

Next, you’ll want to avoid letting your emotions control how you react or respond during the selling process. Many homeowners become emotionally attached to their homes, which is fine while you’re living there but can be a problem when you’re selling. It’s important to let logic and reason guide the sale. Don’t let yourself get caught up emotionally or you may make a critical mistake.

Pricing Outside Of A Realistic Range

Asking too much – or too little! – for their home is another common mistake made by first-time home sellers. It’s critical to understand that the local real estate market has a lot of influence on the correct asking price for your home. Current listings and recent sales of similar homes in the area tend to set a price range in the minds of buyers so these will need to be observed. Your real estate agent will be a big help in choosing the right sale price.

Selling At The Wrong Time

The final mistake we’ll cover today is listing your home for sale in the wrong environment. The local real estate market is in a constant state of change due to a variety of factors. The seasons, other local home listings, interest rates, new home construction, local municipal zoning changes and all sorts of other factors can influence your sale. Unless you are under a time constraint, it’s best to let your agent advise you when it’s a good time to list your home.

Selling your first home can be a daunting experience, but with the right frame of mind and professional representation, it will go smoothly. To learn more about the home selling process or to list your home for sale, contact us today. We are happy to assist you.

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Win the Bidding War With Our 5 Minute Guide to Making an Offer the Seller Won’t Refuse

Posted in Home Buyer Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 14th, 2017

Win the Bidding War With Our 5 Minute Guide to Making an Offer the Seller Won't RefuseAsk any experienced homeowner and you’ll learn that buying in a ‘hot’ real estate market can be challenging. A high supply of buyers competing for a low stock of available homes is a combination that can lead to bidding wars, price inflation, and other headaches. The good news: with some careful preparation and the right mindset, a bidding war is one that you can win. Read on to learn how you can beat out other bidders by making an irresistible offer.

Start With Strong Representation

Answer this question honestly: are you an experienced negotiator? Unless you have made a career out of buying and selling homes, you may find that your skills are lacking. The middle of a bidding war is a poor time to have this realization, so it’s best to start the process with strong professional representation. Invest the time in securing the services of an experienced real estate agent who has a history of successful home purchases and happy clients. For extra assurance, ask them for recent testimonials so you can hear how they helped other buyers.

Get Pre-Approved For Your Mortgage Financing

Now that you have a good real estate agent on your side, you’ll want to move to the next step: meeting with a mortgage lender. Your goal is to secure pre-approval for your mortgage financing, which will show the seller that you’re both prepared and serious about buying their home. Gather up recent financial information like pay stubs, tax returns, and bank statements before meeting with a mortgage professional. Being prepared will make the approval process a bit easier.

Have The Appraisal And Inspection Team Ready

Once you have found your dream home, you will need to move quickly to have it appraised and inspected. As with your other professionals, it’s best to pre-book these companies ahead of time so they’re ready to go. Ask your friends and family for referrals now so you can chat with potential appraisers and inspectors.

Be Serious About A Quick Closing Process

Finally, if it isn’t already obvious to them, make it clear to the seller that you’re interested in closing quickly. Every home seller is interested in a fast, efficient close so they can move on. Pushing the pace a bit will demonstrate that you’re not going to reverse course.

When you are ready to buy your dream home, our professional real estate team is here to help. Contact us today and we’ll share how we have helped other locals buy some amazing properties. We look forward to meeting you!

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What Are the True Costs of Selling a Home? Let’s Take a Look

Posted in Home Seller Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on November 10th, 2017

What Are the True Costs of Selling a Home? Let's Take a LookAre you thinking about selling your house? Before you decide to list your home up for sale, it is helpful to get a clear picture of how much it’s going to cost. Whether you are sprucing things up with a fresh coat of paint, replacing the roof membrane or just covering your taxes, there will be a few bills to pay. Let’s take a quick look at some of the true costs that you’ll incur when selling your home.

Is Your Home Ready To Sell?

The first question you will need to answer is whether or not your home is ready to sell. Unless your house is relatively new, it will likely need repairs and maintenance. Depending on the age and condition of your home, you may also decide to invest in a full home inspection. Having a professional inspector look things over is a good investment – especially if they find problem areas that require immediate attention.

Invest In A Good Real Estate Agent (And Their Commission)

To get the best price for your home, you will need to be represented by a great real estate agent. Of course, they are not going to work for free. Once the home sells, the agent is compensated with a percentage of the sale price, which is known as a commission. In some cases, the home seller also pays the commission for the buyer’s real estate agent as well.

Factor In Costs During The Sales Process

The selling process will also have its costs. From lawyers’ fees to excise taxes, there is no shortage of small costs that can start to add up. You may decide to invest a bit in your open houses in order to make them more welcoming. Or you might need to close out your mortgage. Whatever the case, be sure to leave some space in your budget for these costs.

Moving Out Will Cost You Too

Finally, don’t forget to factor in the cost of moving to your new home. Many families fail to budget for moving expenses, which can be significant if you are moving out of a large home with a lot of furniture.

As you can see, selling a home is a major financial transaction and one that should be led by an experienced professional. When you are ready to begin the process of selling your home, give us a call. Your trusted real estate professional can advise you of local market conditions and ensure that you receive top dollar when you sell.

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